read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

Straight Face - Nigel Hawthorne

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I grabbed this one in the library a couple of weeks ago because it rang quite a large bell. Last year I read Antony Sher's autobiography, Beside Myself and at the time someone on my flist (shooting2kill?) recced Straight Face by Nigel Hawthorne (Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister and King George III in The Madness of King George) as being a similar read. And so it was. There were quite a few similarities in fact. Both men had been brought up in Cape Town, both men are/were gay, and both books contained, as one would expect, an awful lot of theatre talk. Some of which I have to admit I found a little tedious. The most interesting parts to me were the sections about his childhood in South Africa and his insights into being gay when it was against the law to be so. Not that the author lived a particularly racey life... quite the opposite it would seem. There's almost no talk of drink or drugs in this - unlike the Sher autobiography. And Hawthorne didn't find the lifelong partner he craved until he was in his late forties, up to when it sounds as though he lived a pretty chaste sort of life. To tell the truth it seems as though the late actor was a thoroughly nice chap. Jane Laportaire fondly described him as, 'A bit of a fusspot'. *g* Strikes me if that's the worst your colleagues can say about you, you must be one of the good guys. Nigel Hawthorne died of cancer of the pancreas in 2001 - a sad loss to the nation.
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